KARACHI: While Pakistan hockey is a mere shadow of its former self, the latest debacle in the form of missing out on Olympic qualification for the first time in the nation’s history has prompted the government to take some measures to help breathe life into the dying sport.
A probe committee had been established by the Prime Minister to pinpoint the reasons for the poor showing and based on some of the findings, the committee has suggested handing over the management of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) to one of the government departments — National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) or Wapda.
The probe committee is headed by Inter Provisional Coordination secretary Ejaz Chaudhry and incudes Pakistan Sports Board director-general Akthar Nawaz Ganjera, Colonel Mudassar, Khawaja Junaid, Khalid Mehmood and Olympian Shahbaz Senior. They were supposed to meet with the PHF officials on July 23, but the PHF officials postponed the meeting, citing ‘unavoidable engagements’ to July 28.
After the committee meets with PHF officials next week, they would seek a meeting with the prime minister, the patron-in-chief of hockey. The probe committee would embark on the second phase of the process of finalising a department if the PM approves the suggested proposal.
While PIA stand out as the favourites to land the role, having already handled the same responsibility from 1970 to 1994 during which Pakistan not only won four World Cups but also became renowned as one of the major forces in world hockey, the committee has recommended NBP as the second choice as many of the national players are hired by the bank, while Wapda is third in the recommendation list.
Meanwhile, the fact-finding commission set up by the PHF, which includes Olympians Shahid Ali Khan, Mansoor Ahmed and Muhammad Akhlaq, met with PHF officials to further their inquiry. The meeting also included former selection committee members — Islahuddin Siddiqui and Ayaz Mehmood — who had resigned from their posts following Pakistan’s Olympic disqualification, and head coach Shahnaz Sheikh.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2015.
Like Sports on Facebook, follow @ETribuneSports on Twitter to stay informed and join in the conversation.